FCA leads education access project in Ukraine as part of $18 million Education Cannot Wait grant

Building on two years of success rehabilitating educational institutions in Ukraine, FCA is now leading a major new project to provide quality, sustainable and equitable access to education. 

SINCE THE START of the full-scale war in Ukraine in 2022, hundreds of educational institutions have been damaged or destroyed. Recent estimates indicate more than 3,500 education institutions have been damaged, including over 340 destroyed.  

Meanwhile, on top of two years of remote learning due to the Covid pandemic, many schoolchildren have been robbed of the chance to attend school in person by the constant threat of air raids. 

Education Cannot Wait fund supports new FCA project

The Education Cannot Wait global fund awarded the total grant of $18 million USD to two separate consortiums, one led by FCA and the other by the Kyiv School of Economics Institute.

The consortium led by FCA and including Ukrainian partner organisations will be given $8.5 million USD to implement a new education project.

The ‘Empowering Children Through Education’ project will target children and teachers in Sumy, Poltava, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, and Odesa oblasts. 

Over 24 months, FCA and partners will rehabilitate and renovate schools and pre-schools to make them safe and modern places of learning. They will improve education quality by designing modular programmes for vocational education training, learning kits for use in shelters and specialised teacher training.  

Moreover, the group will continue to support extra-curricula activities, psychosocial training focusing on the mental health of children and teachers, and catch-up lessons for pupils returning to mainstream schooling. 

As part of ongoing education work in Ukraine, FCA works with psychologists who visit schools regularly. Psychologists help children process anxiety and worries through play and art. PHOTO: Antti Yrjönen/FCA

Says FCA Senior Education expert Pauliina Kemppainen, “this grant from Education Cannot Wait is a lifeline for many learners in Ukraine, in terms of continued learning and improved quality of online and distance education, which they have relied on since the Covid-19 pandemic, continuing until today. FCA and our Ukrainian partners are delighted to be able to continue supporting the education response in Ukraine, now with even more enhanced impact. 

Additionally, and in collaboration with Finnish educational experts, the programme will design teaching materials and train up to 5,000 secondary educators.  

Building on EU-funded education success in Ukraine

FCA Ukraine is already the consortium lead of the European Union-funded €19 million EUR project “Safe Return to Learning”, which has proven success in delivery quality education, training and support for children and teachers. 

“The situation in Ukraine is different compared to many contexts where international organisations are used to implementing education in emergencies programming, stemming from having a strong and functioning education sector even at the time of war.  FCA has been very fortunate to find long-term, local partner organisations and strong national teams with whom we can closely work together to ensure the relevance of the planned responses,” says Kemppainen.

Quality education needs improved infrastructure

By focusing on infrastructure, technological access, and the quality of education, the initiative not only addresses immediate needs but also invests in the future of Ukrainian society, something highlighted by Alexander Savka, FCA project manager in Ukraine.

“At the core of the programme is our commitment to not only rebuild but to innovate and enhance the Ukrainian education system. Our efforts to equip, educate, and empower are grounded in a vision of resilience, ensuring that every child, regardless of circumstance, has access to quality education. Together with our partners, we will develop programs that will engage over 30,000 beneficiaries across Ukraine and help improve educational programs for schools.”

A pile of Lenovo tablets with the FCA logo sit in the foreground, while children sit in the background
Laptops and tablets allow teachers to continue lessons outside of the classroom, for example in an air raid shelter. These were distributed in Slavutych thanks to the donation of a Finnish NGO.

Infrastructure support encompasses the purchase of 20,000 laptops for children cut off from traditional learning pathways, ensuring that distance learning becomes a viable and effective option.It also includes the repair and outfitting of shelters alongside the restoration of educational institutions damaged in recent times.

Moreover, the initiative places a strong emphasis on elevating the quality of education through the creation of digital content tailored for efficient distance learning. It also aims to refine educational programmes and teaching materials within the framework of the New Ukrainian School (NUS) curriculum reforms and vocational education reforms, marking a pivotal step towards modernising Ukraine’s educational offerings.

For more information contact:  

FCA Ukraine Communications Officer, Veronika Korobko

FCA Global Communications Officer, Ruth Owen